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10/1/2018 | 2 MINUTE READ

Danimer Announced Plans for Fermentation Plant to Produce its Proprietary PHA Bioplastic

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A major milestone for Danimer Scientific as this facility aims to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Just two weeks ago, I attended NatureWorksInnovation Takes Root conference in San Diego, and plan to report on the highlights of that event. While PLA developments were naturally in the spotlight, I had some discussions with key sources on the future growth of blends of PLA and other bioplastics, with PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) very much in the forefront.

This week, bioplastics manufacturer Danimer Scientific, formerly MHG (Meridian Holdings Group), Bainbridge, Ga. announced plans to purchase and revitalize an 88,000-sq.ft. former Alltech algae building in Winchester, Kentucky. The company will use the fermentation plant to produce its proprietary NodaxÔ PHA material.

NodaxÔ PHA can be used to manufacture a vast array of versatile, biodegradable plastic products, including drinking straws, food packaging, cups, bottles, shopping bags, plates, trash bags, labels and more. The material is compostable, 100% bio-based and biodegradable in anaerobic, soil, fresh-water and marine environments. Work could begin next month, and company leaders aim to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2019.

NodaxÔ PHA begins with fermentation where canola oil is consumed by soil bacteria and converted into PHA, which is then processed into a powder form. The powder will be transported to the company’s Bainbridge, Ga. facility and combined with other biopolymers to manufacture biodegradable plastic resins.

Said Danimer Scientific CEO Stephen Croskrey,“This facility marks a major milestone for our company. It will be the world’s first PHA commercial production plant, positioning us to provide our NodaxÔ PHA biodegradable plastic material for a wide variety of applications, from food packaging to drinking straws and more. Kentucky’s state resources and strong local workforce have provided us with a significant leg up in getting this project off the ground.”

Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky, noted that the fermentation facility in Winchester represents a $36.2 million investment and will create 37 full-time jobs.“Danimer Scientific is a true innovator within the plastics industry, and we are proud they have selected Kentucky for this exciting new venture. The company’s decision to locate here is a strong endorsement of the community of Winchester as well as the commonwealth’s overall business climate. We congratulate both Danimer Scientific and Clark County on this promising partnership, and we look forward to a bright future of shared success,” said Bevin.

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in August preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $1.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Additionally, KEDFA approved Danimer Scientific for up to $175,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

Danimer Scientific also can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.